Common Causes of Car Accidents
Each year there are hundreds of thousands of car accidents across the state of California. These auto accidents cause serious injuries, deaths, millions of dollars in property damage, and traffic come grinding to a halt, leaving many Californians stuck in their vehicles for hours. The latest statistics from the California Office of Traffic Safety show that in 2019 3,606 people were killed as a result of fatal traffic accidents. This means that out of every 100,000 people in California, nine were killed that year in car accidents. Everyone who drives on California roads is at risk of being in a car accident. But why do so many motor vehicle accidents occur? Many occur because of a driver’s negligent behavior. The following are the most common causes of car accidents in California:
While most Californians think of cell phones when they hear the phrase “distracted driving,” anything that takes a driver’s attention off the road can be considered a form of distraction. Distractions in the car can include eating, drinking, talking to passengers, changing the radio station, handling a GPS device, trying to settle down children in the backseat, and yes, of course, the use of a cell phone to text or call someone. In California, it is illegal to use a cell phone in your car while driving if you are under the age of 18. If you are an adult age 18 or older, it is illegal to hold your phone in your hand while driving. Hands-free phone holders and using Bluetooth technology to communicate while driving remain legal, however, even these safer cell phone behaviors can still take your mind off the road and present serious distractions. The California Office of Traffic Safety has determined that just dialing a phone number, talking on the phone, or texting can increase the likelihood of a driver getting into an auto accident threefold. Overall, California authorities believe that distractions are involved in approximately 80 percent of all car accidents that occur in the state.
Impaired or Drowsy Driving
Another common cause of car accidents in California is driving while impaired or drowsy. When a driver chooses to get behind the wheel after having a few drinks, they significantly increase their risk of getting into a car wreck and harming others. Drivers operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs have significantly slower reaction times to changes around them and may not be able to process information that would prevent an accident from occurring. Many drunk or impaired drivers do not brake in time, swerve in and out of lanes, fail to follow traffic patterns, or may pass out entirely. These actions can quickly lead to a serious accident. If an extremely tired driver chooses to drive, they may find themselves experiencing some of the same issues when driving as someone who has been drinking or doing drugs. Drowsy drivers may have slower reaction times, may not be able to process information quickly including any changes ahead in their lane, or may fall asleep at the wheel and completely lose control of their car. The California Office of Traffic Safety found in 2019 that 50% of all drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes were tested positive for legal and/or illegal drugs.
Everyone wants to get to their destination on time, if not early; however, speeding on the roadways is an illegal action that puts all cars on the road at risk. When a driver chooses to operate their vehicle at unsafe speeds for the road they are traveling on, they risk causing an auto accident with serious injuries and/or fatalities. Driving too fast decreases the amount of time and space a driver has to react to sudden changes like traffic-stopping out of nowhere or a car changing lanes suddenly. The faster a car is going has been shown to directly contribute to the severity of a motor vehicle collision. Speed-related car accidents are commonly known to result in higher fatality rates and more devastating, life-altering injuries.
Failure to Obey Traffic Laws
Traffic laws are in place to protect all drivers on the road. When a driver chooses to ignore those laws, they put themselves, their passengers, and other drivers on the road with them at risk of serious injury or death. When drivers run red lights, fail to stop at stop signs, fail to yield the right of way, tailgate, make illegal turns or lane changes, or attempt to pass traffic by driving in the emergency lanes, they are breaking the law and putting their own selfish needs ahead of those of everyone around them. Many devastating car accidents occur when drivers fail to follow traffic laws.
Even though driver error causes the majority of car accidents, if a roadway has missing signs, potholes, broken or missing guardrails, oil spills, faded paint markings, or other signs of wear and tear from lack of proper maintenance, drivers may not be able to safely navigate that road. Accidents can quickly occur when there are hazardous road conditions present. These hazards are amplified when the weather takes a turn and a rainstorm, snowstorm, wildfire, or wind storm takes place. When a hazard in the road causes an accident, some city, county, or state government entities may be held liable in whole or in part for the resulting damages.
California Lawyers for Car Accidents
No matter the cause of your car accident, the experienced personal injury trial lawyers of Curtis Legal Group will review the information about your situation for free. You have limited time to act following a motor vehicle accident in California or else you can potentially lose your right to file a claim and recover financial compensation, so don’t delay in contacting a lawyer for more information about the next steps you should take after a car accident injury.